How To Drive In Japan

2019-08-23 LIFE
Living in JAPAN JOBS
Living in JAPAN JOBS

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A driving license is required to drive a car or a motorcycle in Japan. Let’s make certain what kind of license you need and what are the conditions required.

When No Japanese Driver’s License has been obtained

International driver’s license

When you possess an “International Driver’s License” issued in accordance with the forms required by the Geneva Convention by a country who is a party to the Convention, you may drive in Japan provided that these two conditions are met.

Within one year from the date of issuance of the International Driver’s License and within one year from the date of your entry to Japan

Within one year from the date of issuance of the International Driver’s License (valid for one year) and within one year from the date of your entry to Japan, whichever has a shorter duration, you can drive in Japan.

The same applies to a case where you remain in Japan after your entrance and receive International Driver’s License by a mail or other means.

Not violating so called “3-month rule” within the meaning defined by the Paragraph 2, Article 107 of the Road Traffic Act.

A foreign people who is a mid- or long-term resident and is registered in the Basic Resident Register may not drive in Japan when he/she re-enters Japan with a “new” International Driver’s License obtained within three months after his/her departure from Japan.

However, he/she may drive in Japan after re-entry, if the “new” International Driver’s License is issued during the time staying outside of Japan for more than three months after his/her departure from Japan, up to the expiration date of the License.

https://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/menkyo/menkyo/kokugai/kokusaimenkyo.files/kokusaimenkyo_english.pdf

Foreign Driver’s License + Japanese translation

You may drive in Japan provided that you fulfill the three conditions below and you have a driver’s license issued by countries and/or regions of Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, Estonia and Taiwan.

Attachment of Japanese translation of the driver’s license by organizations designated by Cabinet Order.

You are required to carry both the original subject driver’s license and the Japanese translation while driving in Japan. The Japanese translation can be used when converting a foreign license to the Japanese license.

[Organizations who are authorized to produce Japanese translation]

  • The country’s license issuing body or, Embassy or Consulate in Japan
  • The Taiwan-Japan Relations Association for Taiwanese driver’s license
  • Japan Automobile Federation (JAF)
    http://www.jaf.or.jp/e/translation/with.htm

Not over one year since entering Japan

Not violating so called “3-month rule” within the meaning defined by the Paragraph 2, Article 107 of the Road Traffic Act.

A foreign people who is a mid- or long-term resident and is registered in the Basic Resident Register may not drive in Japan when he/she re-enters Japan within three months after his/her departure from Japan.

You may drive in Japan when you re-enter after staying away for over three months.

https://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/multilingual/english/traffic_safety/drivers_licenses/index.files/gaikokumenkyo_english.pdf

Obtaining a Japanese Driver’s License

The International Driver’s License and foreign license expire in due course. If you plan to stay in Japan for an extended period and want to drive, you need to convert your foreign license to the Japanese license or obtain a Japanese license. You have to pass the driver’s license examination (an aptitude test, a written test and a driving skill test) to obtain Japanese driver’s license.

[Conversion] When you have a foreign driver’s license

When you have a foreign driver’s license, you can convert it to Japanese license if you fulfill following two conditions. If these two conditions are confirmed to be satisfactory, a part of the Driver’s Examination Test is exempted.

  • Your foreign license is valid when you apply for the conversion.
  • You must be verified that you have stayed in the country where you had obtained the license for longer than three months after you obtained it.

The flow of the conversion process

  1. Confirm necessary items
    You need to learn what you have to prepare, including necessary paper works, costs and details of the examination, at the driver’s license center of local police stations.
  2. Submit required paper after reviewing the correctness
    When the documents are accepted, you can make an appointment for the examination.
  3. You’ll receive the aptitude test, and confirmations of your knowledge of the traffic rules and your driving skills.

*If you are uncomfortable with Japanese language, you need to arrange an interpreter yourself.

https://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/multilingual/english/traffic_safety/drivers_licenses/index.files/convert_license_english.pdf

[Acquisition of a New License] When you don’t have a foreign license

You can obtain a license through either one of the followings

  • Taking driver’s license examination in a conventional way. (a standard exam.)
  • Finishing an authorized driving school which will exempt you from a part of the driver’s license exam.

We’ll show you which driving school suited foreigners at a later time.


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